Part of this online journey I enjoy so much is the interaction I have with you. For my end, I try to be open and transparent as we explore this brave new world of branding and online communication together and you’ve held up your end of the bargain with enthusiasm, support, and the appropriate virtual ruler to my knuckles when I’ve made a mistake or gone too far. So allow me to let you in on what I’ve been thinking about lately:
As I see it, there are two keys to success in this blog thing — having something to say and having a critical mass of people to say it to. The rest of the requirements — modest technical proficiency and an ability to write reasonably well, for example, are as much cost of entry as a decent computer and an Internet connection. But to have people to communicate with — ah — that’s the beauty part.
So it should come as no surprise that I spend part of every week thinking about ways to attract new readers and continue to please and delight my current readers (that’s you!).
Here’s my latest thought: We are going to post a daily branding tip on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc. Each tip will be titled (brand-tip-of-the-day is the working title), numbered (87 of 365, e.g.), and include a link to the website where they’ll be compiled. At the end of year one we should have chronicled 365 tips and an untold number of interesting comments that will be repurposed as a book, flashcards, a calendar, or who knows what. Plus, each posting will allow interested readers to sign up for more information that will create additional readers for this blog as well. Of course, I’ll keep you posted on how it’s going so you can use a similar (but different) technique to enhance your online promotions.
With all this in mind, I started working on compiling the initial 365 branding aphorisms. The first 67 came easily. “This is a breeze,” I thought. “I’ll be done in no time.” Of course, pride goeth before a fall.
The next 40 were tough. It took me hours and hours to reach 100. I flashed on the story of the guy who wants to lift a 2,000-pound bull onto his shoulders. He started with a baby calf, which is relatively light, and then continued to pick up the animal as it grew, day by day, pound by pound, into a bull. But even with his incremental approach, there’s a reason why no one can lift a full-grown bovine.
But I stuck with the project just the same. The harder it got, the more resolute I became about slogging through. And every so often I’d come up with a new way of looking at the problem that rewarded me with numerous entries.
How about citing other famous people’s thoughts on branding? Oscar Wilde, Bill Bernbach, Mike Tesch, Steve Jobs, and others much smarter and more eloquent than me gave me a gaggle. How about highlighting great brand lines throughout history? BMW, GE, Evernote, and more also increased my census.
As you would imagine, some days are better than others. But, because of tried and true mantras such as “any job worth doing is worth doing well,” and “you can accomplish anything if you just stay with it,” I kept plugging. And the fact that I’ve spent the last 30 years creating great brands for our clients did give me a lot to draw on. Maybe I’ve even reached the 10,000 hours of practice that Malcolm Gladwell suggests is necessary for true mastery of any activity.
But with the finish line well in sight, I’m starting to run out of steam. Which is why I thought of you. After all, the first word of social media is “social.” So why not reach out to my legion of faithful readers (that’s you!) for help? I’m sure you’ve got a few great branding tips to share, after all, I wrote an article on Bill Talbert’s 10 great micro branding tips and he’s already given me 10 more for the next article. If we crowd source branding tips, we should be able to easily surpass the additional posts needed.
So here are the rules of the game: All posts must be original or attributed to the original source. Each must be no longer than 76 characters including spaces, quote marks, and other hazarai because we need space for the title, post count, link, and room for retweeting. They need to be about branding. They need to be profound, clever, brilliant, useful, educational or hilarious. In the case of duplicate entries, I’ll credit the first person who sends the idea.
Send them to me via the comments link at the bottom of the blog or as a private email. Send them as you think of them or compiled on one page. But send them. Because together we can learn from one another and build something of value.